The English iron-hulled cargo sailing vessel, the Beaumarais Castle, was traveling from Calcutta en route to New York when she met her demise on Bermuda’s treacherous Mills Breaker reef on April 25, 1873. Attempts to refloat her failed. One man lost his life and others were poisoned as they inhaled noxious fumes during efforts to get the ship back up. The tragedy led to abandoning further attempts to refloat the vessel, although the cargo was saved.
Mills Breaker is also the location of the Colonel William Ball. Built in 1929 by Massachusetts-based George Lawley and Son, the luxury yacht was originally built as the Sialia, later renamed Egeria, and finally the Colonel William G. Ball, after it was purchased by the U.S. Army Transportation Corps in 1941. The Army converted the ship to transport troops, and under the command of Captain Fred Anderson, the ship returned to port to sit out a bad storm in June 1943. The storm drove the Colonel William G. Ball onto the Mills Breaker, a shallow reef east of Bermuda. The wreck investigation turned up evidence that the breaker’s marker buoy had broken free of its mooring and disappeared from sight due to rough seas, resulting in the loss of the ship.
On the north side of Mills Breakers there is a row of deadeyes marking the location where the Beaumarais Castle went down. The bow points to the surface at a depth of 25 feet.
Today the wreck of the Colonel William G. Ball sits in 15 to 26 feet (5 to 8 meters) of water. It is a popular diving site with scuba divers.
BEAUMARAIS CASTLE STATISTICS
Location: 32°24'33.05"N, 64°37'42.96"W Length: 202 feet (61.5 meters) Tonnage: 1,040 tons Maximum Depth: 40 feet (12.2 meters)
COLONEL WILLIAM G. BALL STATISTICS
Location: 32°24'33.05"N, 64°37'42.96"W Length: Length: 120 feet (36.5 meters) Tonnage: Tonnage: 291 tons Maximum Depth: 26 feet (8 meters) Protected Area Radius - No Fishing: 300m